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Taj Gibson for NBA Sixth Man Award? He thinks Ginobili, Crawford

Updated: April 23, 2014 12:39AM

Backup big man Taj Gibson smiled at the possibility he would bring the Bulls their second individual honor this month.

And then he explained why he probably won’t win the Sixth Man of the Year award when it’s announced in the next 10 days or so. Center Joakim Noah was named defensive player of the year Monday.

“It would be great,” Gibson said Tuesday before Game 2 against the Wizards. “I don’t even think I’m going to win it, to tell you the truth.”

Maybe he was simply being gracious, but Gibson proceeded to list the two other big-time candidates for the award. In fact, both guards are previous winners.

“I like [the Spurs’ Manu] Ginobili, and I like [the Clippers’ Jamal] Crawford,” Gibson said.

Playing for the team with the best record in the regular season, Ginobili averaged 12.3 points, 4.3 assists and three rebounds in only 22.8 minutes. He came off the bench in all but three games.

Crawford started 24 times and averaged 18.6 points, 3.2 assists and 2.3 rebounds.

“Just to be put in the same talk with them is good,” Gibson said. “I’m just more focused on the playoffs.”

Gibson has a strong case to become the first Bull to win the award since Ben Gordon nine years ago.

During a season in which his team appeared rudderless at times, he played in every game but started only eight times. He averaged a career-high 13 points in a career-best 28.7 minutes.

Coach Tom Thibodeau was hopeful Gibson would win the award.

“I think he’s had a terrific season,” Thibodeau said.

“Obviously, I’m a little biased, but just watching his growth and what he’s done for our team and how he’s contributed to winning, I hope he is recognized.”


Twitter: @patrickfinley

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